Category Archives: Personal Notes

things you may not know about me

I am a middle child. And the only girl.

I broke both of my wrist at the same time when I was in 6th grade. Gymnastics. Uneven bars. Nuff said.

My hair was short for the first 15 years of my life.

I have only been in love once…and I married him.

I was afraid of dogs as a child…until my dad brought home a golden retriever puppy from a business trip.We named her Muffin (cause preppy was all the rage:)

I lived down the street from Aileen Quinn (the original Annie) Legend has it that she had a crush on my brother.

I rarely clean my plate. Even if I love everything on it. I think it is my rebellion for having to clean my plate as a child. That is just my self-observation.

I have often thought of starting another blog that I just post nature photos on…but then I get worn out at the thought of maintaining another blog.


Our twins were split at midnight, so that have different birthday. My daughter is 11 minutes older…

I have a mark on my face that is permanent from being the the womb 27 days past my due date. I was due Aug. 1st and I showed up on the 28th. My finger nails were embedded in my face..and one mark still remains.

31 flavors overwhelms me so I usually just stick with Mint Chip.

I am an introvert. I think I have fought this idea for most of my life…always feeling like I should be out and about but really feel myself when I am at home with my people. I say that….but then I also love a night out with friends too….so who knows what I am:)

There are times when I think I have ADD….bouncing from one project to the next without completing anything….but I’m cool with that….it is part of my process I suppose.

People used to mistake me for her….hence most friends of my youth called me Winnie. I was once asked for my autograph…when that show was still popular.


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A HUGE shout out to my parents….who I called at 6:30 on Thursday and said “hey, want to leave with me at 7:30 Friday morning to spend the day cleaning and painting the lakehouse???” To which they responded…without even hesitating “of course….” I pray that I can always be as generous as they have been to me. Love you mom and pop:) Thank you soooooooo much!


Happy weekending:)


5 for the road

FRIDAY!!! Whoot!! Try to soak up these last weekends of summer. My bff is traveling in town today on this….They are making there way to the Grand Canyon from Philadelphia. I know right! What an adventure! I am so pumped that they are stopping here first:) (I will be calling them Griswold all weekend…yes I will)




So I thought it would be fun to share 5 interesting/funny/just because I want to share them…things on Friday. I shall call it 5 for the Road:) Maybe it will be a series…that is my hope anyhow…but I don’t want to over commit;) Here are some interesting things to chat about and look up this weekend…


5 simple changes to make you happier


Do you know these women?


How fabulous would this be if it were true….



Too hot to cook…17 Lazy girl recipes


Stackable ice cube tray just seems like a good idea….no? (source UncommonGoods)



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What everyone is thinking about tiny houses…but this writer so clearly and hilariously states… (a bit vulgar, but very very funny…)



live nice


One last thing (I realize I am over my limit of 5:) I have a little friend, her name is Anna…she is actually my best friend Melissa’s daughter’s (too many apostrophes?, I never know…)  best friend. Got that? There will be a quiz;) She is on a mission to remind folks of how very easy it should be to just Live Nice towards one another. She is a little entrepreneur…setting up at local farmer’s markets around the Philly area to sell her Live Nice t shirts. I would love for you to support her:) Here is a link to her website…and her Facebook page (her parents are managing that for her:) I love me shirt…it is super soft and fits so nice….pun intended;)


Happy weekend!


Lakehouse at Barren River

Okay…first of all you guys kind of totally rock…You and your sweet words were the vitamins to my writer’s brain on Friday. Feeling kind of overwhelmed and underinspired..which I probably have said almost every July for the past 5 July’s… and a few of you left such sweet comments that really made my day! I think that the challenge with blogging for this long without much of a break is too continue to be a place that is inspiring. This comment….”casual, fresh and interesting…” it truly made my day…thank you again…It is the best kind of bonus! Keep the comments and suggestions coming:)

reader comment


My love of projects and photography along with writing is really what I was meant to do. There are some really fun new avenues to be connected with you all like Instagram, Facebook and my newest favorite periScope which is basically like if Youtube and Snapchat had a baby;) A live podcast that last for only 24 hours. It is really a fun way to get to know you guys better and to follow along your favorite bloggers and see them behind the scenes. It makes everybody come to life…. literally. I’m not one to jump on the bandwagon for a new app but I think that this Periscope app (which is an arm of the Twitter brand) will be here to stay. You can find me on there at @cleverlyinspire I shared a few this weekend….but I don’t think they are still on there now. You can be notified when I am Live:)barren river lakehouse for sale (3)


I have been asked recently about our lakehouse and I thought this might be a good time to give you an update of what is going on there. We did have some renters in our lake house that unfortunately had to move out to move closer to their family. So we were left once again with an empty lake house. We put it back on the market at the beginning of the summer and have had some interest….but no takers yet.


barren river lakehouse for sale (15)

It is a very specific buyer that we’re looking for. Even though the house is in a perfect location…it is very rural. It is a very private location which is one of the biggest reasons why we love it so much. It is a value too… we have come down on the price about $20,000!!

barren river lakehouse for sale (25)


If you know of anybody in northern Tennessee or Kentucky that is interested in a furnished lake house please forward this to them. We would love it to have somebody buy it who is going to take care of it and enjoy it as much as we did. I created a Youtube for you to share:)



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Here are a few past projects that we completed at the lake house that readers have enjoyed… (pics are tiny…vintage bloggin days:)




How to make an outdoor bar

Thrifty Finds at the Lake

Wine Bottle garden path

reentry is hard….

Hey all! Back at the homestead….switching gears a bit…and that always takes a bit of time. Great summer fun here so far this year….it isn’t over yet though! We are going to soak every last bit in! My bff  and her fam is traveling via luxury motorhome from Philly to the Grand Canyon (and lots of places in between:) Their first stop is here!! And I cannot wait to see her! I am going to help her stock up the fridge for lots of campfire/easy oven meals for their trip out west. Do you have any good ones to share? I would love to hear.

The beach was amazing this summer….and we all said next year we need to be there for 2 whole weeks all together…I got a bit homesick at the end only because we weren’t all together…

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We ate too much….slept a bit more…and laughed a bunch….

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It was fun to spend time with Nana and Grammie & Pop pop…..just hanging out. We feel really blessed to be able to share the beach with them….


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I tried to take my DSLR out for a bit….but I really was so into my books that I didn’t take many pics. Sidenote: You must read Jodi Picoult’s new book  Leaving Time ….wow it was good! I just finished The Girl on the Train and loved that too….I swear I don’t read all year until the summer comes around….but I am loving it so much! Are you a year round reader?

Are you on Periscope? It is a new app that is basically like Facetiming with the world at the same time….bunch of bloggers are on it now and it is really quite fun. It is a branch off of Twitter…my user name is cleverlyinspire (like it is on twitter) Download the app for free and come and hang out:)

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The post is all over the place….kind of how I feel at the moment….I am working on a small project in the peanut’s room….trying to get food in the house again….making sure I have ordered  high school books for classes….figuring out what to share with you this week….like I said…ALL over the place! Maybe I’ll go back to the beach;)

Have a great Monday peeps!



(books are affiliate links)

Dad’s Day

Hubs and I started dating in our Sophomore year of college. The first time he came home with me to meet my family was in February during a school break. He was so nervous to meet my dad. A normal occurrence during most courtships….meeting the Father of an “only daughter” family….some nerves are natural.


They immediately hit it off….both share a great love of golf, sports, and movies. My Dad loves a good movie. We had a room in our basement that was small…and set up just to watch movies….it was before all these fancy movie rooms. My Dad actually finished the whole room himself….complete with surround sound, elevated TV platform…movie posters and a recliner couch. When Bill came home with me that first visit….my Dad and him watched movies…I think it was my Dad’s way of “feeling Bill out”…seeing what parts he laughed at or commented on. Communicating without really communicating. They got along great…and still do. I guess movies do that for most people…hit a common cord and help us to see people in different lights.


hhgregg would like to help you celebrate the Father in your life. You can do this by participating in the Ultimate Chore Challenge obstacle course being held inn Atlanta, Indy and Tampa. hhgregg along with All Pro Dad is holding this fun family event where you can win all sorts of prizes….like maybe a cozy recliner for your movie room:) You can find out about the event in your area by visiting hhgregg and preregistering. Lots of great gifts for dad…along with some sales too! Check out hhgregg for more information.


Happy Father’s Day weekend to all the Dad’s out there….


Love you Dad!!


This post was sponsored by hhgregg. All  opinions, photos, thoughts are my own. I have been compensated for my time.



start to summer…

Hey all! We had a great week at the beach. My hubby was able to stay for half the week and the remainder of the week I spent with my nephew and bubs.

11312321_1387409888232816_1799123468_n It was a lot of fun just hanging out with them and also not hanging out with them….reading my books, sitting on the beach…listening to just the waves…it was a bit of a retreat for me;)


These too are frick and frack….I love them so:) Such good boys!


I have read several great books already this summer and I wanted to share a couple of them with you. I don’t know why…but in the summertime I tend to read more than I do the whole entire year. I guess I just try to slow down a little bit and not work quite as much take a little bit more time for myself and my family. I do have a fun project coming up this week along with some fun summer inspiration.  Last year you might remember we celebrated summer creating red white and blue projects,crafts & recipes. I joined in the fun again this year and we have even more summer fun to share. That post will go up on Thursday this week so be sure to check in on Thursday at 8 o’clock Eastern Time. You will be able to follow along on Pinterest and your favorite social channels to see all the bloggers that are participating. If you are having any kind of summer get together as you will want to be sure to check it out.

I hope that you are having a good end of school year / beginning of summer. Tomorrow I’m going to be sharing some awesome features from the link party last week. Until then here are a few summer reads to get into your bag for the pool this year. Each one of them I have not been able to put down! I love it when that happens. Happy Monday friends! (affiliate link below)


goodbye Madmen


The pageantry of Mad Men will come to a close this Sunday. Oh boy am I going to miss the show. I started watching on Netflix about 3 years ago and have been hooked ever since. I don’t know if it is the incredible set design… the costumes that are so on point to the decade of the characters or if it is the characters that you really do love to hate…. Eye.

(source AMC)

It is an emotional rollercoaster. One moment you’re cheering for Don as he figures out a character flaw that he’s had all this time and the next moment he falls from grace once again. Or Betty his ex wife who with-holds her love for everybody…is a stuck up snob…and only seems to be happy when someone else is miserable…including her own daughter Sally…..but yet at the same time you just want her to be happy….so complex….


Kiernan Shipka as Sally Draper - Mad Men _ Season 7B, Portraits - Photo Credit: Frank Ockenfels 3/AMC

(source AMC)

She’s a mommy Dearest that dresses to the nines at all times and her hair perfectly coiffed….Grace Kelly bob…perfectly Aqua-netted. I loved seeing what she was going to wear every episode.


(source AMC)

I remember some of these images as a child of the mid 70’s….going out for dinner and seeing the cigarette machines right next to the candy machines…Pull the knob and cigarettes would come tumbling out. The bright fashions and furniture of that decade….the rise of woman and their place in a work environment.


(source AMC)

 And then there’s Peggy….who starts the series as a Secretary….and ends up to be head of copy-writing….Seeing her character evolve has been so enlightening.

Elisabeth Moss as Peggy Olson - Mad Men _ Season 7B, Portraits - Photo Credit: Frank Ockenfels 3/AMC

(source AMC)

The whole show has been a fascinating story of the 50’s through the 70’s….and all I can think is what happens to all these characters as they enter the 80’s and 90’s….boy I am going to miss this show.


If you haven’t gotten hooked yet….make it your next Netflix marathon. It will not disappoint.


AMC has a little  MadMen Yourself into a set….of course I had to participate:) madmen_standard


Have a great weekend friends!


things my mother taught me….



Respect yourself so that others will do the same.

Spending time alone is not awful. You don’t always need to be where “everyone else” is.

Everyone can have a bad day…even a good mother.

Life is full of challenges but there’s always someone somewhere that has a challenge that’s heavier than yours.

Always listen to yourself first because 9 times out of 10 that’s the best answer.

Have fun.

When you count to 10 and ask the Lord for patience….He usually will send you some.


The seawater will cure pimples. (true story)

If you show a kid of food often enough they will eventually try it. Even spinach.

Remember to always play a little bit every day.

Cutting a child’s hair short every year to help it “thicken” does NOT work. (sorry mom, had to get that one in there…. #dorothyhamilfordays)

My mom loves me even when I’m a complete brat. She’s my biggest cheerleader. She has always supported all of my crazy endeavors.


I know that I make her proud. My mom stayed home to raise us. She sacrificed a lot and that is never forgotten.

I hope she knows that I think she’s done a great job raising three kids to be happy, healthy and productive people.

And being a mom myself I know how hard of a job it is.

Thanks Mom:)

Happy Mother’s Day friends!


Unique Gifts for Mom & Summer reading


Hey yall! We made it to Friday! I have had a productive week but nothing really that I can share with you… at least right now. I was browsing on Etsy a few nights this week and came up with a few things to share…all of these Mother’s Day gifts are all thoughtful priced very reasonably. Unique gifts that are personal always wins!

mothers day picks @cleverlyinspired

(sources and buying list is at bottom of post)

I also wanted to share with you a few amazing books.  Both of these books I literally picked up and could not put down. I love it when a book captures you right away. Both of these would make great teacher gifts or mothers day gifts maybe packaged together in a little pool bag. Ready for summer reading! The first book I read was called Sarah’s Key. It was heavy….in terms of the subject matter. Took place in the 1940’s in France. Follows a young Jewish girl named Sarah and her family. There was a huge roundup of French Jewish citizens…who were eventually taken to Auschwitz. I had no idea that this actually had taken place until I read this book. It was heavy material but yet so captivating and I was so glad that I read it. I typically don’t read books like this but I would read this one again and again.


sarahs key

The second book that I read was called A Hundred Summers. I started this book when we left the beach and I finished it when we pulled into our driveway. I literally read the entire way in the car on the way home. I had to apologize to my husband for literally not speaking a word on the way home. It was a book that grabbed me and just I wanted to see what happened…. so so so good. I was chatting with the author on Instagram and she told me that her sequel to this book will be out soon. Don’t you love social media sometimes?? Chatting directly with the author of a book that you just finished!! So cool!


hundred summers

So what should I read now?? Do tell!!

Buying list to my picks…..all can be found on etsy!

Baseball Bracelet

Custom Rolling Pin

Funny Card

Coin Purse

Car Decal

Fishy Iphone Case

Green Stone earrings

Funny T shirt

Personalized stickers

Handmade Soap Club


I pulled a winner for the Nespresso!!! Congrats to Dani B!!!

Have a great weekend friends!


We rarely took a spring vacation when I was growing up. It didn’t seem like many people did actually. When I was in high school we lived in Wisconsin so to travel anywhere south/warm you were going to be in the car for at least 24 hours. I don’t remember ever being bummed about it. It forced my brothers and I to hang out…like going bowling together…( I can still probably beat him;) We enjoyed sleeping in… maybe going out to lunch just hanging around doing stuff we didn’t get to normally do during the school week. beach

When Break. A break from school a break…from friends.. a break from routine… a break. Reconnecting…. taking naps…. listening to quiet….spending time playing cards or checkers or talking for an hour about what kind of queso you like best.beach 3


Life can be so busy when you let it be…and I do not do well with total busy-ness. There will be a day…it is coming soon when our kids will go on spring break and college trips with friends and begin their life outside of our family. We encourage that. Some days we look forward to that. I suppose that is our number one job as parents to help them to become independent, caring, good citizens. If we’ve done our job they won’t be coming on spring vacation with us forever and that’s okay. But until then we are definitely going to enjoy our time together. Not just enjoy our time…but fully be there. Step away from the technology….no need to share every moment. Leave some of those moments in your memory instead of online.

beach 2

A break can happen anywhere….no need to leave town to pause and unplug. Soak it in…happy spring friends:)


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